Be real – if you were truly sad about physical magazines dying, you’d buy more. But between the advent of the internet and the downturn of the economy, mixed with the overall lack of high quality journalism contained within said magazines, it’s hard to argue they’re worth much these days.
In the ’90s, you didn’t need an argument. You’d flip through Rap Pages or Ego Trip and instantly get stuck. Part of the appeal was the aesthetic (Vibe was known for glossing up hip-hop via photography) and part of it was each magazine’s style (Don Diva’s brand of journalism differed from XXL’s), but there was still a boundless joy to flipping through all sorts of rap mags.
Perhaps the most slept on aspect of ’90s rap mags was the ads. Sometimes you’d see rappers model for Karl Kani and Enyce. Other times the record label would promote a couple different acts on the same page. But the best ads had bold graphic design, never-before-seen photos, and most importantly, a clear encapsulation of an artist’s brand. You could see a Black Moon ad and almost visualize what the music sounded like.
To honor the brave visual artists from the ’90s, we dug through the digital archives to bring you some of the freshest rap ads from old magazines. From Dr. Dre to Frankie Cutlass, these are 40 Classic Rap Ads From The ’90s.
(Note: Two of these ads are from the ’00s. We know. Sue us.)